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Moroccan Roasted Carrot Soup

Moroccan Carrot Soup

Another soup, already? Yep. Sorry about it, but…

I’ve been hit by, I’ve been hit by, a smooth (soupy) criminal.

Soup has now robbed my kitchen and all my recipe idea brain space. After that first bowl last week, on one of the first fully chilly fall nights, my mind was stolen. More soup, please.

Moroccan Carrot Soup

I hope you can get on board with that. And if you’re skeptical, let me tell you why it’s a good idea.

The best of fall’s harvest is in. Soup is gladly here to take it all in, and to fill you up and warm you up without weighing you down before the holidays.

For a hearty, yet light meal to welcome in autumn, I can’t think of anything better than soup.

Which means, I’m serving up two of those spoon-ready recipes in a row. Hope you can handle it. High five to you if you’re more than ready.

Carrots

This is one of my more favorite carrot soups I’ve had in awhile. It’s layered with flavor stemming from two main components: the caramelization from the roasted veggies and the toasted hints from the cumin.

Roasted Carrots
Buying the whole cumin seed and grinding it yourself is well worth the extra step. After toasting up those seeds in your skillet, you’ll see why. The fragrance they give off needs no explanation written out here on this blog.

Bottle that up and place it in a spray bottle, and you bet I’d spritz that all around my house. Likely on my clothes, too.

Moroccan Roasted Carrot Soup

If you don’t have a spice grinder, a coffee grinder will just as well do the trick to quickly grind up your toasted cumin seeds.

Their slight smokiness goes so well with the natural sweetness that radiates from earthy roasted carrots. Add a tangy dollop of yogurt to the mix, and it’s like heaven in a bowl.

Or a smooth criminal, that’ll try to steal your bowl, or mind, for the next few days.

Toasted Cumin

Healthful yet so tastefully satisfying, it’s likely I’ll be making this again soon. Don’t worry, it won’t show up on the blog again. Although, I can’t say the same for another soup soon.


High five again if you’re okay with that.

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Creamy Polenta with Spring Greens and Shiitakes

Creamy Polenta with Spring Greens and Shiitakes

Oh man. A whirlwind of travel mayhems transported me to my mom’s garden this past weekend.

I was out in San Diego last week for work (consider me sunshine-swooned), and my layover flight home ended up terminated due to poor weather. My choices were: 1) Struggle to keep my eyes open till 4a.m. at the airport and achieve automatic world-class traveler status; or 2) Switch my flight destination from Philly to Baltimore and persuade my mom to come pick me up, just before the strike of midnight. Family for the win. I chose to forgo the world-class traveler award as soon as my mom gave me the go-ahead. That accolade can wait, especially in circumstances where a spring garden awaits. Oh, and let’s not forget that a ton more places are waiting for me to visit, too.

Spring greens

Naturally as soon as my jet lag wore off, I was outside inspecting the garden, and cooking up lunch with my findings. It happened to serve as a good thank you to my mom, and a pre-Mother’s Day gift. That deserves an accolade in itself, right? Just kidding.

Creamy Polenta with Spring Greens and Shiitakes

I dream of days where I have my own garden. Or even just a yard. But for now, my mom’s will likely have to do until I migrate away from Philly. Luckily, it holds its own with an uplifting plethora of baby greens and herbs, all of which gave inspiration to this meal.

At their youngest, kale and collards simply can’t be beat. And now is the time to find them.

Spring greens

It’s been said life hardens you, and apparently this goes for greens too. You see, babies are inherently soft-skinned and sweet in nature. Apply this to greens, and you get leaves that are far more tender than when they grow older, and generally less bitter, too. (And since this seems to apply to humans as well, I’m keeping a “big kid” status forever.)

The soft and sweet characteristics make early spring greens perfect for raw preparations and for quick 2-minute sautes in recipes like this. From kale to spinach to swiss chard, any green that might be sprouting up in your garden or making its way to your local farmer’s market will work here. If available, go for a mix. That may just mean throwing in a few red lettuce leaves, too, and turning your mushrooms a strange shade of magenta. Es la vida.

Creamy Polenta with Spring Greens and Shiitakes

Pile those greens and mushrooms on top of St. Andres cheese, already working to melt its way into creamy polenta, and you’ve got a spring meal that’s memorable, to say the least.

My best description for St. Andres is “a more heavenly version of butter”. However, if for some reason you can’t find it, opt for a soft cheese, one that’s ideally slightly stronger in flavor than brie. If baby greens aren’t at your disposal, feel free to use the big guys. Just add a few extra minutes to your saute time. Then tell those big babies to stop growing up so fast!

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Breakfast Millet with Peanut, Ginger & Turmeric Apple Compote

Breakfast Millet with Peanut, Ginger, & Turmeric Apple Compote

I’ve been on a turmeric kick lately, which is great because there are 101 health benefits associated with it. It’s a huge antioxidant-powered anti-inflammatory, meaning it can aid in everything from reducing arthritis pain to heart disease prevention.

It’s also frequently used in Chinese Medicine to treat depression, and it’s been shown to delay liver damage. With how brutal this winter’s been, it’s no wonder I’ve been consuming so much of the stuff. How else am I going to counteract all that alcohol I’ve been consuming as a result of my snow-induced depression? Kidding of course.

I will admit, however, a ginger-lemon-honey-turmeric tonic makes a great morning choice after a night out on the town. As does this breakfast.

Breakfast Millet with Peanut, Ginger, & Turmeric Apple Compote

In drink form or not, my turmeric intake often goes hand in hand with my ginger intake. The two make great partners in the kitchen, both in terms of health and flavor rationale. (Ginger’s another one of those anti-inflammatory, detoxifying godsends.)

Thus, it seemed only natural to take them to my apples for a Saturday morning breakfast. Sweetened with a little raw honey, which gets counter-balanced with a little lime, this brings a wonderful way to wake up. Plus, did I mention there’s peanut butter in this? Is there any better way to wake up than with that? For this PB-junkie, the answer is no.

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Carrot Soup with Tahini and Roasted Chickpeas

Carrot Soup with Tahini and Roasted Chickpeas

After dodging glaciers all week and layering up till I could’ve been mistaken for the Pillsbury doughboy, today I’m hitting you with another soup recipe. There were one too many icy bike rides taken to work this past week. All called for soup immediately upon return home. Here it is.

Carrot Soup with Tahini and Roasted Chickpeas

‘Tis the season for complaints about the weather, long movies, hibernation and honey. Maybe you should call me Pooh Bear rather than the Pillsbury Doughboy. I hear he likes raw honey in his Earl Grey tea, too.

‘Tis also, of course, the season for soup, and always the season for tahini. Naturally, the two form a partnership in this warming bowl, inspired by a glimpse at Smitten Kitchen. Cue the wedding bells and tears of joy, please.

Carrot Soup with Tahini and Roasted Chickpeas

This is hands-down one of my favorite soups I’ve had yet this season. It’s creamy and sweet from the carrots, and hit with a contrasting tang from a little Greek yogurt and squeeze of lemon. Then it’s topped with a satisfying drizzle of tahini and roasted chickpeas to add in some texture. Seriously ? it has everything going for it.

By the end of his bowl, I caught my friend clanging around his soup spoon as if it were a percussion instrument. Picture a more obnoxious version of a triangle. This soup is that good. It brings music to the ears – good or bad. And is worth every last minute of poorly played instrumentation you might have to endure.

Enjoy!

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Butternut Squash Soup with Miso and Coconut

Butternut Squash Soup with Miso and Coconut

When I saw miso + creamy butternut, I thought to myself, “interesting combination”. Then, when I saw coconut in this recipe too, it instantly got bookmarked out of intrigue. Coconut and miso together is entirely new to me, and I have to say it works quite well in this soup. (The extra coconut milk left in your can works well in oatmeal the next morning too – banana/maple/coconut/oat heaven, hint hint.)

There are definitely layers of flavor going on here that you wouldn’t necessarily expect. In a good way.

One of my friends with whom I was sharing this brought over olive bread to add to the dinner table. That was like a hipster dressed in early fall – they pull out all their favorite items to layer a cardigan over a flannel over a collared denim over a too tight t-shirt. Too many layers, in a bad way.

Butternut Squash Soup with Miso and Coconut

Adding anything with olives to this soup meal, I wouldn’t suggest, unless you’re a fan of conflict and intense food dichotomy. A crusty baguette, on the other hand, would compliment this perfectly.

This miso in here adds a subtle saltiness, and a hint of earthiness that’s surprisingly detectable. I like a little crunch in my soup, which is why I added the cashews – they won’t overpower the miso, but rather add to the coconut’s sweetness. I also tried throwing in a handful of raw kale the next day while reheating. This too complimented the soup, and added a healthy (literally) dose of satisfying crunch.

Surprisingly simple, this recipe will undoubtedly be going on the repeat list. Not sure about where you live, but it’s snowing here today. For sure the best excuse to spend the evening inside and layer up on butternut gold.

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